Black Panther‘s astonishing domestic box office numbers for its opening 4-days is $245 million, which actually betters Justice League‘s lifetime US box office of $228 million!
This is really bad news for Warner Brothers, especially when you consider that Black Panther is a second tier Marvel character whereas, Justice League consists of DC’s heavyweights like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
And as much as Warner Brothers will want to place the blame on the film directors viz. Zack Snyder and/or Joss Whedon, the fact is the manner in which Warner Brothers mis-managed the production made it impossible for either Snyder or Whedon to deliver a movie that was internally coherent as a narrative.
Unlike Marvel Studios – where head honcho Kevin Feige has ensured that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a fairly consistent vision and has remained committed to delivering that story agenda, there is no equivalent person in Warner Brothers.
Instead, Warner Brothers decided to rush the production of a Justice League movie before introducing key characters like The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg.
In addition, after supporting Snyder in continuing the darker, realistic tone established by Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight trilogy into Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Warner Brothers betrayed Snyder and gave in to the critical backlash by firing the director upon viewing his initial cut.
Warner Brothers subsequently tasked Joss (Avengers) Whedon to reshoot $50 million worth of new scenes to alter the tone of the movie, which only made things worse – resulting in a half-baked story and a mixed tone.
The critics hated the re-jigged movie and diehard Snyder fans began agitating for a true director’s cut to be released – which only undermined the finished product even further.
It’s fair to say that – despite the gains made from the popular Wonder Woman film – the DCEU brand is currently in the shitter and threatens to derail the upcoming slate of movies, which includes Aquaman, The Flash and Shazam!
Already, Joss Whedon has exited the development of the Batgirl movie – he has “no story” is the official word – but chances are Warner Brothers has blamed Whedon also for the underwhelming Justice League and the director has paid the price!
Also, rumours continue to circulate about how future movies may eschew the DCEU completely and be presented as ‘standalone’ films to avoid the taint of the brand.
Which in the circumstances is probably the best solution to a problem of Warner Brothers’ own making. In fact, Warner Brothers might want to consider laying off the DC characters altogether and perhaps focus entirely on animated versions instead.
With the significance of Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox becoming a slow reality, this leaves Marvel as the only viable purveyor of superhero movies for the time being and the foreseeable future.
… still there’s more …